Are you looking for a bed your dog can snuggle up against? Or does your pet feel more secure when sleeping next to a wall? If so, one of these five bolster beds for dogs could be the perfect choice.
Memory foam mattress with soft bolsters
My top recommendation for a bolstered dog bed is the PetFusion Ultimate. It's an excellent product with a solid (yet comfortable) memory foam mattress, soft bolsters and machine-washable cover.
If your pet loves to snuggle up against a cushion, or often curls up when he sleeps, a bolster bed could be a great choice.
Bolster beds - also known as nesting - have raised edges that are filled with soft padding. The dog can rest against the bolster or lay his head on top like a pillow. Larger bolster beds also allow your pet to stretch out (unlike donut beds).
It's important to choose the right bolster for your pet though. All dog beds needs to be durable, easy to wash and provide a comfortable sleeping surface. The bolsters also need to be soft yet supportive enough to prevent sagging.
With these factors in mind, let's take a closer look at some of the best bolster beds available at the moment.
There are several advantages of a bolster bed. These include:
Of course, whether a bolster is the right type of bed for your pet depends on his requirements. Bolsters aren't a great choice for dogs that like to hang their head off the side of a bed, or those who need maximum room to stretch out, for example. Many dogs enjoy the security and comfort of a raised edges though.
|#1||PetFusion Ultimate Pet Bed||Excellent bed with thick memory foam mattress||$$$$|
|#2||BarksBar Orthopedic Bolster Dog Bed||Cheaper than the PetFusion and still has orthopedic foam (but not memory foam)||$$$|
|#3||Friends Forever Orthopedic Dog Bed Lounge||Another excellent memory foam bolstered bed||$$$$|
|#4||K&H Original Bolster Elevated Bed||Durable elevated bed, with a soft bolster, that's great for keeping your pet cool||$$|
|#5||JOYELF Orthopedic Bolster||Less expensive memory foam option, but relatively thin mattress||$$$|
Scroll down for more information and mini-reviews of each of our top picks.
The PetFusion Ultimate is my #1 pick for a bolstered bed. It's a high-quality orthopedic bed with a solid memory foam base and soft polyfil bolsters, so it provides outstanding support and comfort.
There are several sizes available, with the largest (XXL Jumbo) suitable for dogs up to 200lbs or more. The main base is made from solid memory foam - not shredded foam like cheaper products - so it reduces pressure on the hips and shoulders.
It's worth noting that the smaller sizes have a thinner memory foam base, which makes sense as lighter dogs don't require such a thick bed. The largest size has an impressive 6" memory foam base, which is one of the thickest I've seen.
Aside from its quality construction, PetFusion has put a lot of thought into making this a great all-rounder. The outer cover is machine washable and durable enough to withstand repeated washes. There's also a waterproof liner to protect the mattress if your dog has an accident.
There aren't many drawbacks - but it's not suitable for chewers. The relatively thin external cover can handle some light scratching or digging, but it's not designed to be chew-proof. There's also a noticeable odor when you first open the package, but this is an issue with all memory foam beds.
Note: If you're looking for a memory foam dog bed, check out my full list at https://www.thedogclinic.com/dog-beds/memory-foam
Why We Recommend It: The PetFusion Ultimate is an outstanding bolster that provides just the right combination of support and cushioning. It's available in several sizes, so there's an option for most breeds, and has a machine-washable cover.
If you're looking for an orthopedic bolster bed that's a bit cheaper than the PetFusion Ultimate, the Barksbar is a solid alternative. It's made from regular orthopedic foam rather than memory foam, but still provides a supportive sleeping surface and soft bolsters for added comfort.
The mattress is built with 4" grooved orthopedic foam. This provides enough firmness to prevent the dog sinking through, while remaining comfortable and supportive of the dog's joints. The bolsters are filled with cotton for a luxurious feel, which is great for supporting the neck and contouring to the dog's shape.
Other features include a machine-washable cover and non-slip rubber backing. It's also easy to remove the cover due to the high-quality zippers. There isn't a waterproof liner though, which is something to consider if your dog often has accidents.
A drawback of the BarksBar is that it's only available in two sizes, and the large option is only suitable for dogs up to 100lbs. Unlike the PetFusion, both sizes come with the same 4" orthopedic foam mattress, which may not provide support for the heaviest dogs.
Even so, the BarksBar is an excellent bed that provides great value for money.
Why We Recommend It: The BarksBar Orthopedic Bolster is a brilliant bed that provides a lot of value. The orthopedic foam makes it a good choice for dogs with joint problems - or those that just enjoy a luxury bed - and the soft cotton bolsters are perfect as pillows.
Another excellent orthopedic bolstered bed is the Friends Forever Lounge Sofa. It's a high-quality bed with a 4" memory foam mattress and cushioned bolsters for maximum comfort - plus it's available in several colors and sizes.
As you would expect from a memory foam dog bed, the Friends Forever Lounge is relatively expensive. The combination of supportive foam mattress, soft poly-fill bolsters and water-resistant liner (which is important for protecting memory foam) make it one of the best beds on the market though.
Aside from its supportive design, the Friends Forever has a removable and machine washable cover. This is made from soft fabric that's durable and doesn't stain easily. There's also a non-skid bottom, which is useful for older dogs or those who are anxious about unstable surfaces.
One thing to note is that it only has bolsters on three walls. This is a common design, but makes it easier for older dogs to step into the bed without hurting their joints.
The biggest drawback is the price. It's expensive - especially if you need the XL option. For pets that need comfortable support for their joints and a bolster as a pillow, however, it's difficult to beat.
Why We Recommend It: The Friends Forever Orthopedic Lounge Sofa is an excellent bolster bed. The memory foam provides great support, while the soft bolsters are comfortable for your pet to rest his head on. It's also suitable for dogs with joint pain.
While most bolster beds are made with orthopedic foam, the K&H Pet Cot is one of the few with an elevated design. Elevated beds aren't as soft as regular beds, but provide a cooling surface due to increased airflow. If your dog loves to curl up against a pillow, but gets too hot on a regular mattress, this is a great alternative.
Available in three sizes, the Pet Cot is a durable product with a waterproof design. It's easy to put together and combines the comfort of a bolster with the cooling properties of an elevated bed. It's also durable and more suitable for chewers than the other beds on this list.
One of the great things about elevated beds is that they can be used both indoors and outdoors. If you want to provide a comfortable sleeping surface that keeps your pet cool, elevated beds are an excellent choice.
A useful feature is that the bolsters can be removed for machine washing. The base isn't machine washable, but can be wiped down to prevent mold and mildew.
The main drawback is that it doesn't provide the same support as a foam mattress. This can cause extra pressure on joints, which could be a problem for dogs with arthritis or other joint problems.
If you need a strong bolster bed that's suitable for dogs that overheat, however, it's one of the best options.
Note: For a full list of elevated beds, check out my guide at https://www.thedogclinic.com/dog-beds/elevated.
Why We Recommend It: Not all dogs want to sleep on a foam mattress - especially if they are prone to overheating. The K&H Original Bolster Elevated is an excellent alternative for dogs that prefer a cool sleeping surface, but still want to rest their head on a cushion.
If you want the comfort and support of memory foam without the high price tag, the JOYELF Orthopedic Bed is an option to consider. Like the other memory foam beds on this list, it's made with solid memory foam that molds to your dog's body shape. It also has cotton bolsters and is easy to clean.
Aside from its memory foam mattress, the JOYELF has all the features you would expect from a high-quality bolster bed. These include a non-slip bottom, inner waterproof cover to protect the mattress, and a machine-washable cover. It also comes with a squeaker toy and is available in two sizes.
The reason this bed is cheaper than other memory foam beds is that the mattress is only 2" thick. It's still able to support the joints of smaller dogs, but heavier breeds are at risk of sinking through.
For this reason, I only recommend the JOYELF for small breeds. If you have a medium or large dog, look for at least 4" of solid memory foam. Lightweight dogs will love sleeping on it though.
Note: Like most memory foam mattresses, the JOYELF has a distinct odor when it's first opened. It's best to be prepared for this otherwise it can be quite a shock!
Why We Recommend It: If you want a memory foam bed without paying a fortune, the JOYELF could be a good option. It's made with solid memory foam and has comfortable cotton bolsters that many dogs will love. The mattress is relatively thin, however, so I only recommend it for light breeds.
The best bolster dog beds provide a secure and comfortable sleeping space for your pup. They also strike an excellent balance between space and security - especially when compared to fully enclosed beds.
My top recommendation in this category is the excellent PetFusion Ultimate. This bed also made it onto my list of the top 10 dog beds (full list here) due to its thick memory foam mattress, soft bolsters and machine washable cover.
I hope this article has helped you choose the best dog bed with bolsters for your pet. If you have any questions or comments, let me know below!
About the Author: Richard Cross
Richard is a journalist who specialises in dog behavior. He's written hundreds of articles and books related to dogs, including for the Continental Kennel Club, Dog Fest (the UK's biggest dog festival) and various veterinary surgeries. When he's not spending time with Jess and Rudy (his beloved Labrador and Golden Retrievers), he enjoys reading, hiking and watching sports.